“Needs time” is one of the great euphemisms a taster can use when confronted by a young wine that he or she feels is not showing as well as it might. When I first encountered the 2009 vintage of Bowed Head Chenin Blanc from Graham Beck about two years ago, I remember being taken aback by how rich, full and oaky it appeared but it’s really settled down subsequently.
From dryland bush vines in Paarl which are 40 years and over in age, it was barrel fermented and matured for eight months in a combination of first-, second- and third-fill oak and has a pretty smart analysis: Abv 14.16%, RS 4.45g/l, TA 6.88g/l and pH 3.31.
It’s now wonderfully complex on nose and palate with notes of peach, apricot, honey, wet wool, basically the whole works. It’s certainly broad in the mouth but not at all listless and the finish is long and savoury. Drinking optimally thanks to some bottle maturation and a reminder that patience when it comes to wine sometimes really does have benefits.